A pensioner who groomed and then tried to rape a young girl has been jailed for ten years and nine months.

Christopher Tiley, 67, systematically abused the child over a two-year period, starting when she was 11. And the only thing that stopped the him from raping the girl when she was about 13 was his own impotence.

Tiley, of Grasmere, Melksham, denied all of the allegations but was convicted of two attempted rapes and nine sexual assaults after a trial at Swindon Crown Court.

As well as the series of offences against the child, one of the sexual assaults was on her older sister a few years before he turned his attention to the younger girl.

Robin Shellard, defending, said his client was not in good health having had a heart attack, strokes and suffered from sleep apnoea. Tiley knew he was facing a lengthy jail term and Mr Shellard said it would be harder on a man of his age than for a younger person.

Passing sentence today, Judge Tim Mousley QC said: "This was a course of conduct culminating in at least two attempts at sexual intercourse.

"She puts the total number at about five and she was just 13. Your intent was, of course, to rape her. Your intention was only thwarted by your impotence.

"I take the view that you groomed her and then you took advantage of her vulnerability.

"There was a trial, you pleaded not guilty, while it doesn't increase your sentence it means I can't decrease it.

"As a result of that, of course, they had to relive their experiences giving evidence.

"You are 67 and a man of good character. People speak highly of you. You are in poor health, I take that into account as well.

"The attempted rape could not factually have been any closer to the full offence without amounting to the full offence."

Tiley must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The jury of five men and seven women heard Tiley tried to force himself on the younger child after two years of sexually assaulting her.

Tiley, who has two grown up children of his own, had started to abuse the girl in early 2012 when she was living in Devizes.

The first incident took place in 2008 when he was saying goodbye to an older sister and tried to kiss her with his tongue.

Although she told her mother what had happened it was regarded as an accident and nothing was done about it.

But he began touching the younger girl when she was just 11 years old. She said he repeatedly groped her, before eventually trying to have sex with her.

The girl had called Childline and mentioned what had been happening to school friends before finally telling her family in January last year.

When he was questioned by the police the defendant denied all of the allegations saying they never took place.